Mumbling to an Oscar
Epic films, they used to make them. They usually starred Charlton Heston or Omar Sharif and with rationing still a recent memory and foreign travel a distant dream we loved their scope and colour. One of this year’s big Oscar hopefuls , the 150 minute, Revenant, is an epic.
Its set in the frozen US of A when men were just that and where hunting parties and Indian war parties compete. Women only appear to be raped or murdered. This is definitely not a chick flick. Deborah Ross who has a wit like a chain saw describes the film in the Spectator as an “Endurance test”. I know what she means. But it’s a good sign if I stay awake, and I did.
But in terms of what this film is ,its Bear Grylls Survival meets the Book of Job, an almost laughably corny story of fortitude and revenge. There is blood on the snow, lots of it. Di Caprio whose Romeo and Titanic were literally lifetimes ago now plays a man who has no fear of death as he has had died a hundred times. Or was that Amy Winehouse?
Anyway for those who love winter landscapes this is the epic for you. For those who like their heroes to do almost miraculous things in a fur coat,. for those who like their bad guys to be unshaven, unintelligible, mumbling and stumbling towards a death they thoroughly deserve this film has Oscar written all over it.
It maybe that as video games become more realistic and violent the movies have had to up their body count. Anyway our hero gets savaged by a bear, gets buried alive, crawls to the river, is washed down a waterfall, goes over a precipice with his horse whose corpse he then climbs inside and then has to fight it out with the king of the mumblers.
We have had some cold weather and maybe that is why on Sunday afternoon the Odeon, Putney was almost full with people dressed as if they were extras for the film . Though most were too well shaved to get a part.
I liked the way that Di Caprio was signalled a good guy from the start. He was speaking Pawnee, or was he just mumbling like the rest. We all know that just as bad guys smoke, white guys who speak native tongues are saints. And if you thought the English mumbling hunting party were a bunch of ne’er do wells, wait till you meet the French.
The film ends with Di Caprio breathing heavily, as if it was his last. I knew the feeling, at times the film is laughable but its watchable and we live in a more cynical age than when they first made epics.